Phantom J 4500

A Review

By Mark Gercovich

I’m sure you have all experienced that feeling when you go to replace that particular clothing item, footwear or piece of sporting equipment that you have used/worn for years and find you can no longer get it.  Or maybe is it just a sign of me getting old!

I had used Daiwa Capricorn reels for almost a decade, I had found them a reliable performer on a variety of species  and had caught many meter plus yellowtail on them, but alas they were no more. Unlike what usually occurs when trying to replace an old favourite, their replacement was fairly obvious with the Phantom J. It still looked like the Capricorn and had similar features with features such as the Hardbodyz  design, Twistbuster II, 5 bearings, line capacity and 9kg of drag pressure available. Most importantly it still had the automatic bail arm trip feature. Even though it is a feature removed from most high end heavy tackle threadlines,  I like it due to the nature of the lure casting  we do for kingfish. It saves making an extra movement of manually closing the bail after every cast, which helps given the amount of casts required on some days. A quick click of the handle and the reel is engaged an ready to retrieve. Not only is this handy for repetitive blind casting but also when casting into the middle of a sighted school. This is a  time when the lure can be hit the second it lands, not the time to be fiddling with a bail arm. The Capricorn is the highest quality size 4500 reel still with this manual bail trip in the Daiwa stable.

Well it may look feel and cast like the old Caprciorn but the real proof in the pudding was always going to be how it would perform under the pressure of a big rampaging king. Well we didn’t have to wait look as the first one that attached itself to the Phantom J was a 123cm, 16kg beast.  Hooked and fought in only 4m of water, it was bream fishing mate Matt Kerr’s first king and both he and the Phantom J handled such a difficult task magnificently. As the Kingfish season rolls on the Phantom J has proven itself to be a wonderful replacement to my old faithful Capricorn. I’m looking forward to using it to throw some metal slugs or plastics at the school SBT which should arrive soon, a task the Phantom J should also handle with aplomb. If you were looking to get a reel capable of tackling  your local kingy population, without outlaying the big bucks, then the Phantom J may just be the reel you are looking for.


Mark Gercovich is a school teacher who lives in the Sth West of Victoria at Warrnambool. Despite being a successful bream tournament angler (8 top 10 results from 10 ABT comps, 2nd ABT Vic AOY 2007,4TH ABT GF 2005.) he enjoys a wide variety of fishing scenarios from fishing skinny water for big trout to chasing meter plus Kings on lures and live bait. Mark is a monthly contributor to Victorian Fishing Monthly and a regular contributor to Fishing World, has also traveled extensively having fished in every state of Australia as well as Vanuatu.